Who Was Phillip Jablonski? How Did He Die?

Image Credit: San Quentin State Prison

Whether it’s to understand how twisted minds work or to get a thrill of the fear that has been induced, we somehow always find ourselves entranced in true crime stories, especially ones that involve serial killers. Therefore, in a week-long segment, Investigation Discovery is profiling some of America’s most elusive serial killers. And, among them is Phillip Jablonski, whose life, story, death, and crimes, are all going to be chronicled in a two hour special entitled, ‘The Serial Killer Among Us: Phillip Jablonski.’ Curious to understand more about him and his passing? Here’s what you need to know.

Who Was Phillip Jablonski?

Phillip Carl Jablonski, born January 3, 1946, was an American serial killer who was convicted of killing five women in California and Utah between 1978 and 1991. According to a couple of reports, Phillip saw and was involved in violence (as a victim) from a very young age, so the rage that he had only manifested as he grew up and turned him to do heinous crimes himself. Phillip’s alcoholic father used to beat and sexually abuse his mother, him, and his siblings when he was a child, and that show of force and brutality got to be all he knew. Therefore, unfortunately, even he turned to sexual violence.

Back in high school, Phillip Jablonski met his first wife, Alice McGowan. They got married in 1968, two years after he enlisted in the Army to fight in the Vietnam War, but soon, things took a turn for the worse. While they were living in Texas, he turned violent. When engaging in sexual acts, he used to put a pillow over her face in an attempt to suffocate her. On several occasions, he even strangled her until she was unconscious. After she left him, Phillip became involved with Jane Sanders, who he first met in November 1968. He raped her on their first date, but she didn’t report it and continued their relationship.

It has been stated that once, while they were having sex, Jane wanted him to stop. But, instead of complying, Phillip pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot her if she did not continue. After that, he hit her with the butt of the gun until she passed out. When she ultimately regained consciousness, she realized that he was still having sex with her. It was in 1972 that Jane finally left him. And, it was after that that Phillip really let loose of his criminal tendencies. Late that same year, he raped an acquaintance of his at knifepoint in her home, while her toddler was in the room. Fortunately, she was able to escape and call the police, and he was arrested and convicted of the rape.

It was in 1991, when Fathyma Vann, Carol Spadoni, and Eva Peterson were found murdered within days of each other that Phillip Jablonski’s crime spree came to an end. As investigations were underway, the police realized that they were dealing with a depraved serial killer, and eventually, all clues led to him – a recently released convicted rapist and murderer, who had been charged for the killing of his partner, Linda Kimball, back in 1978. He was apprehended on April 28, 1991, in Kansas, but, unfortunately, he had already taken the life of his fifth victim, Margie Rogers, the day before. Consequently, in 1994, Phillip Jablonski was sentenced to death.

How Did Phillip Jablonski Die?

In 2006, Phillip Jablonski appealed his conviction, but the California Supreme Court upheld his death sentence. And so, he remained on death row. It was while he was awaiting his sentenced death, in San Quentin State Prison, in 2019, on December 27, that he passed away. Corrections officials said that the guards discovered the 73-year-old unresponsive in the single cell that he had been assigned at 1:10 p.m. that Friday. They immediately called for support, and 20 minutes later, Phillip Jablonski was officially pronounced dead. The Marin County Coroner was to do his autopsy and determine the cause of death. But, no new reports have been made public. Hence, considering his age, we assume that Phillip died of natural causes and that no foul play was involved.

Before Phillip passed away, though, he made a website from prison asking men and women to write letters to him, in which, he referred to himself as “Death Row Teddy Bear.” In the ad for it, titled “Pen Pals Wanted,” he said that he was seeking an opportunity to talk to open-minded bisexual or straight males and females for blunt, mature, and honest conversations.

Read More: Who Were Phillip Jablonski’s Wives?